A.I. Innovations Transforming the Future of Mining
Artificial intelligence and the connectivity created through the “Internet of Things” are becoming crucial factors within the technological progression of the mining industry. Just as we now have smartphones, and even advent of smart-homes, that learn our patterns of behaviour, recognise our voice on command, and collate data to make our lives just that little bit more convenient, the concept of ‘Smart Mines’ is becoming more and more of reality.
What is Artificial Intelligence?
In the same way that trying to explain the complexities of human intelligence may be difficult, artificial intelligence is a complicated concept. However, ultimately artificial intelligence can be defined as:
- Software that makes it possible for machines to learn from experience, to recognise patterns through intricate data analytics, and adjust according to new inputs of data.
- Concerned with building machines capable of performing tasks, and even making decisions, that typically require human intelligence.
How is it Being Used to Create Smart Mines?
- Aids mining companies in organising, understanding the patterns that may arise within the enormous amount of data that is collected. Mining companies can then use these insights to make decisions.
- Helps companies in finding deposits, with extremely high accuracy. This increases strike rate – saving time and money.
- AI technology can be built into drones, to improve the quality of aerial surveys, and produce better understandings of the environment and terrain. Ultimately, an AI model can be taught to identify which locations are optimal for exploration, cutting down the amount of man power needed.
- AI technology is utilised to develop the automation of machinery. This may include autonomous vehicles, drillers and haulage systems. Autonomous haulage systems (AHS) have been shown to provide productivity gains of over 20%.
- Improving operational efficiency, safety and production workflow, by making predictions that may, for example, include predicting the distributions of minerals. Geologists, and other industry experts can work closely with AI engineers to build models such as these.
- Smart sensors, embedded in mining equipment, be it autonomous or human-operated, are used to gather data for the AI models to utilise. These help the AI suggest when preventative maintenance is needed and therefore optimise the performance of equipment and save time.
- AI models can be used to scan the working environment, collate this data and create virtual, augmented and simulated reality which can build training simulations to run safety drills or practice high-risk tasks.
What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
The broad definition of the “Internet of Things” reads as:
“The Internet of Things describes the network of physical objects, that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices over devices and systems over the internet.”
In the case of mining these ‘physical objects’ could include all machinery, equipment and vehicles, communicating the data that they collect through various sensors, working in synchronicity with each other. These machines can automatically share information with each other, and therefore reporting processes which represent an extra step within decision making, could be made more efficient. The software that the definition speaks of, is essentially the artificial intelligence technology talked about, above. Ultimately, the Internet of Things is a key driver of the technological revolution that the mining industry is currently undergoing.
How is it Being Used to Create Smart Mines?
- Smart Mines will be constructed in the same way that homes are being to be constructed with built –in appliances that have the ability to communicate with each, for example, a fridge that sends a notification to your phone to tell you when you are out of milk, or tells your oven to start preheating when you select the ingredients for a particular recipe. Another example may be the ability to use your iPhone to remotely control the temperature of your home or to close your curtains or pre-heat your bed.
- Smart Mines are being constructed, with the intent to start production as early as 2021.
- The mine will be created using machinery and equipment that is linked through the “Internet of Things”, connecting all elements of the mining value chain.
- Mine operators will be able to control large areas of the mine completely remotely, and to receive real time data and analysis of this data quicker than ever before, to make decisions and maintain safe practices.
- Included in the “Internet of Things” of the Smart Mine will be equipment such as wearables. Wearables, such as high-tech safety goggles or watches, can be utilised to provide lots of different data, which may include information on the safety of the workers, their progress, their fitness, or their location, and which can also feed information back to the workers from management.
Ultimately, the mining industry is entering into a revolutionary period, whereupon the entirety of the processes that are standard practice in mining, will be slowly transitioned to integrate Artificial Intelligence technology and utilise the “Internet of Things”. It is important to stay abreast of these developments, in order to understand how you, as a member of the industry, can secure your career’s future.
Titan recruitment is committed to aiding your journey within the mining industry, but linking talented candidates with high quality roles. As the industry changes, it is important to have an agency like Titan Recruitment in your corner. For more information on the services that Titan Recruitment provides, please see our website.